Bloomfield could be next village

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Kayla Bunge
August 18, 2008
— A judge Tuesday will review an incorporation request that residents of Bloomfield Township say is necessary to protect their borders from annexation by Lake Geneva and Genoa City.

“When you look at government … the townships really are on the lower end of the food chain,” said Don Holden, a representative of the group seeking incorporation. “We’re the last and the least, and the only way to avoid being last on the food chain is to move up a little.”

A petition to incorporate part of the township into a village was signed by almost 250 residents and has been filed in Walworth County Court. Judge Robert Kennedy will review the petition Tuesday. If he finds it meets standards for incorporation, Kennedy could forward the petition to the Department of Administration for review.

The proposed village would be the portion of the township northeast of County H from Lake Geneva to Genoa City and include the unincorporated Pell Lake area.

Doug Mushel, a representative of the group seeking incorporation, said the proposed village hinges on the reasonably developed Pell Lake area, which has stores, churches and a post office.

He said Bloomfield already provides urban services such as police, fire, water and sewer. The town has operated “pretty independently” for decades, Mushel said, and residents want it to remain that way.

“They want to preserve the town and the way it’s been in the past,” he said. “If they aren’t incorporated, then they can’t.”

The town could lose land to annexation by Lake Geneva to the north and village of Genoa City to the south as both municipalities eye the land as a potential area for growth and development.

Bloomfield does not have a border agreement with Lake Geneva, but it has an agreement with Genoa City that expires Jan. 1, 2009.

The village of Genoa City has filed a motion with the court to intervene in the incorporation, saying it already has identified the land to the northwest of the village as part of its urban service area.

“We’re doing what we have to do to protect the interests of the village,” said Village President Barry Goad.

But Mushel said he thinks the town and the village can come to an agreement.

“I think we share the same vision of what we’re looking at for that area,” he said. “We’re not closing the doors to Genoa City. We’re happy to sit down with them and work something out.”

This is not the first attempt to incorporate a part of Bloomfield Township. A group of residents sought incorporation of Pell Lake years ago, gaining approval from the Department of Administration. But residents in 2001 denied the incorporation referendum.

Holden said incorporation is the only way residents can protect their town.

“Who better has a feel for the way things should be than the people who live here?” he said. “We don’t want to have a war with Genoa City or Lake Geneva, but this is just an effort to protect our community as we know it. And probably the only way to do it.”

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